ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Vikings definitely showed the world Sunday they are for real.
The Vikings hardly looked like an elite team for much of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. But they stormed back from a 17-point third-quarter deficit and won 33-30 on Greg Joseph’s 33-yard field goal with 3:42 left in overtime, then Patrick Peterson’s game-ending interception in the end zone with 1:12 remaining.
The seventh straight win by the Vikings improved their record to 8-1. Entering the game, many doubted Minnesota was one of the NFL’s top teams due to a weak schedule and a string of one-score victories week after week.
With 50 seconds left in regulation and the Vikings trailing 27-23, quarterback Kirk Cousins was stopped short on fourth-and-goal at the Buffalo 1, and it looked as if the Bills would win. But on the next play, Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen fumbled the snap and linebacker Eric Kendricks recovered it in the end zone with 37 seconds left for a 30-27 lead.
But the Bills drove down the field for a 29-yard field goal by Tyler Bass with two seconds remaining.
On the first possession of overtime, the Vikings had first-and goal at the Buffalo 2. But Dalvin Cook lost three yards on a run, Cousins was sacked for a loss of 10 yards and Cousins threw an incompletion. They then had to settle for the 33-yard field goal by Joseph.
But Paterson later would save the game after Bills had second-and-10 at the Minnesota 20 with the interception. Buffalo (6-3) was threatening to win the game with a touchdown or at least tie the score with a field goal.
Minnesota trailed 27-10 in the third quarter and looked headed for an ugly loss. But the Vikings got an 81-yard touchdown run by Cook late in the third quarter and a 3-yard TD run by fullback C.J. Ham with 4:34 left in regulation to cut the deficit to 27-23.
Allen had been listed as questionable with a right elbow injury, but he started and didn’t look to be affected by his injury until perhaps his fumbled snap. Allen completed 29 of 43 passes for 330 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Cousins had some early struggles, which included throwing two ugly interceptions. But Cousins, who completed 30 of 50 passes for 357 yards and a touchdown, led the dramatic comeback.
The Vikings looked good at the start, going 74 yards on their first drive to take a 7-0 lead on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Justin Jefferson. But then Buffalo took over.
The Bills scored the next 17 points on a pair of Devin Singletary touchdown runs and a Bass field goal to go up 17-7. At the half, the Bills led 24-10.
In the third quarter, with the Vikings trailing 27-10, Cook gave them life with the 81-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, to cut the deficit to 27-17. Then they got the 3-yard touchdown run by Ham to cut the deficit to 27-23. But Joseph missed the extra point, meaning Minnesota would need a touchdown, rather than a field goal to stay in the game. They got the touchdown on Kendricks’ fumble recovery.